The Encyclopaedia Islamica Foundation is a non-profitable organization whose main objective is to compile the Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. The Foundation was established in Tehran in 1983, launching its activities in the field of research about the world of Islam and Iran, gradually turning into one of the credible centers for encyclopaedia writing in the field of the world of Islam. From the very beginning, the stylebook and the instructions were prepared through the efforts of a number of researchers and scholars to prepare the grounds for the compilation of an encyclopaedia to be used as a reference book. Besides the publication of ten volumes of the Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam the Foundation has thus far published some other works as well. For more information about the history and process of formation of the Foundation, the same entry (in Persian Bonyad in the Encyclopaedia may be studied.
The organizational structure of the foundation has four main bodies:
1 – President
2 – Board of Trustees
3 – Board of Directors
4 – Board of Scientific Advisors
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei is the President of the Foundation, which was founded on his decision during his first term of presidency (1981-1985) and is still supported by him.
The Board of Trustees has fourteen members who are outstanding scholars of the universities and seminaries of Iran: Nasrullah Pourjavadi (Managing Director 1985-2000), Gholamali Hadad Adel (Managing Director since 1995), Gholamali Khoshrou, Ja’far Sobhani, Abdulkarim Soroush, Seyed Ja’far Shahidi, Jamluddin Shirazian, Hasan Tarami Rad (Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs since 1997), Abulqasem Gorji, Sadeq Larijani, Mahdi Mohaqeq (Managing Director 1983-1985), Mohammad Hadi Ma’refat, Seyed Mostafa Mirsalim (Head of the Board of Trustees; Managing Director 2000-1995), and Ali Akbar Velayati.
According to the Statute of the Encyclopaedia Islamica Foundation, the main prerogatives and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees are: setting the main policies as well as the scientific criteria and regulations of the Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam, assessing the eligibility of the deputies and advisors, amending the Statute and evaluating special cases.
Managerial Board is constituted of the Board of Trustees, Managing Director and his deputies. The Managing Director is elected on the proposal of the Board of Trustees and approval of the President. His responsibilities and prerogatives include the appointment and dismissal of the deputy for scientific affairs, deputy for executive affairs, establishment of different departments of the Foundation and running the scientific and executive affairs of the Foundation. The Scientific Organization of the Foundation is under his deputy for scientific affairs, while the Administrative and Financial Branches are under his deputy for executive affairs.
Members of the Board of Scientific Advisors, according to the Statute of the Foundation are elected on the proposal of the Managing Director and approval of the Board of Trustees. Advisors are elected from amongst experts, specialists, and scientific authorities in different fields of Islamic teachings and sciences. Some of the advisors work with the Foundation as full-time employees, some part-time and some of them, either Iranian or non-Iranian, give their advises whenever needed. The First Scientific Council was convened for the preparation and implementation of the practical-scientific plan of the Foundation headed by Mahdi Mohaqeq and with the participation of Fathullah Mojtabaee, Ali Ashraf Sadeqi and Abdulhossein Azerang as well as the late Ahmad Araqi (d. 1991) and Abas Zaryab Khoei (d. 1994). During the recent years due to the increase in the number of full-time faculty members of the Foundation, the number of affiliated scientific advisors has reduced.
Scientific Organization of the Foundation is constituted of ten scientific departments, six scientific support units, and the office for on-the-job training as well as the office for calling for and receiving the articles. Every Scientific Department has several main disciplines (branches) and every branch is in charge of compilation of certain number of articles up to the end of the completion of the Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. The Head of each discipline is in charge of ordering, compiling, evaluating, and editing of the articles related to that discipline. Hence every member of the departments is specialist in a specific field. The affiliated authors, who are now 400, write the articles in coordination with the heads of the departments.
After the articles are received other scientific units (bibliography, entry, editing and translation, pictures, and names) on the basis of the defined workflow prepare the articles for publication in the Encyclopaedia.
The Deputy Managing Director for Scientific Affairs is in charge of proper implementation of the plans of Scientific Organization of the Foundation. It is projected that the Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam will be completed by 2021.